Recently on my Race in America series, I did a show on Juneteenth
. Turns out some folks didn't know. Well, it's good to know. It's like the real first Black holiday our our own. So I thought I'd share some info with you. Read on, learn some, add some.
Juneteenth celebrates the freedom of over 250,000 slaves at the close of the Civil War. The holiday is based on events that occurred mainly in Texas but is now celebrated nationwide. The celebration takes its name from June 19, 1865, the day federal troops arrived in Galveston to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation. Although the Proclamation had taken effect on January 1, 1863, it freed few, if any, slaves.
News of the war's end did not reach Texas until well after the Confederate surrender at Appomattox . Many speculate that the news was deliberately withheld so that slave owners could bring in one last crop. Others believe that the news was delayed because the messenger traveled by mule while some believe the original messenger was murdered en route.
When the news was finally delivered, it was celebrated in great fashion. Over the years, Juneteenth festivals have evolved into day long events which include picnics, parades, music, dancing, and baseball. In Kansas City, events include a parade, a festival at Swope Park, karate and golf tournaments, a baseball game, a theatrical play, and the crowning of Mr. and Mrs. Juneteenth.
Additional reading about Juneteenth:
Cohen, H. & Coffin, T. P. (1991). The folklore of American holidays. Detroit: Gale Research Inc.
Galens, J., Sheets, A. J., & Young, R. V. (1995). Gale encyclopedia of multicultural America. Detroit: Gale Research Inc.
RACE IN AMERICA = The Juneteenth Show
From the Wikipedia
Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, is an official annual holiday in 29 states of the United States. Celebrated on June 19, it commemorates the announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas. The holiday originated in Galveston, Texas; for more than a century, the state of Texas was the primary home of Juneteenth celebrations, however, one small community in Arkansas (Wilmar) boasts that its celebration, called "June Dinner" has been consistently observed and celebrated, except for one year, since approximately 1870. Since 1980, Juneteenth has been an official state holiday in Texas. It is considered a "partial staffing holiday" meaning that state offices do not close but some employees will be using a floating holiday to take the day off. In California, Governor Schwarzenegger proclaimed June 19th "Juneteenth" on June 19, 2005, however, some of these states do not consider it a legal holiday and do not close government offices in observance of the occasion. Its informal observance has spread to some other states, with a few celebrations even taking place in other countries. 
As of June 2008, 29 states and the District of Columbia have recognized Juneteenth as either a state holiday or state holiday observance; these include Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming.